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No matter what life throws at me, I’m counting my blessings.

When I came home from England in December 2014 (6 years ago!) due to my unexplainable health decline, I always imagined that I would be back in action and back in London before the end of 2015 finishing my Master’s Degree and pursuing my dreams to start a non-profit for children in hospice and hospitals bringing the arts to them. Little did I imagine what the next 6 years would entail!

In 6 Years, I’ve been diagnosed with

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (later Fibromyalgia),
  • Lyme Disease,
  • Cervical Stenosis,
  • Degenerative Disc Disease,
  • Sleep Apnea,
  • Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis,
  • Not to mention that I started suffering from Cervical fibroids

In the last 6 years, I’ve been in hospital (and the ER) for

  • Pneumonia (several times),
  • Lung biopsy,
  • Lung Lavage (twice),
  • Cervical D&C and Resection,
  • Neuropathy pains in my feet,
  • Cervical Laminoplasty C3-C7,
  • fainting at church during prayer group and troubles opening my eyes [got to love having an ambulance pick you up at church; ironically this is not the first time as I had one pick me up when I was in high school (?) because I fainted in the lobby.]

and I’ve had three out-patient nerve ablations for my neck.

In the last 6 years, I have seen the following specialists

  • Neurologist
  • Cardiologist
  • Gynecologist
  • Sports Medicine Doctor
  • Podiatrist
  • Pain Management Doctor
  • Herbalist
  • East/West Medicine (at UCLA Health — cannot recommend Dr. Taw and the team enough!!!)
  • Eastern Medicine Doctor
  • Endocrinologist
  • Urologist
  • Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Pulmonologist
  • General Medicine
  • Rheumatologist
  • Sleep Medicine
  • Integrative Pain Medicine
  • Neuro Psychologist
  • Psychologist
  • Physiologist
  • Radiologist

I am sure there are a few more but my mind is blank. But I think this is definitely a good enough start to show how broad my list of doctors is.

BUT, just because life has been one crazy rollercoaster these last 6 years, does not mean I have nothing to be thankful for. So please allow me to share –

Counting My Blessings I’ve experienced in 2020

  1. Many are having a difficult time “staying at home” and wanting to rebel against the rules set in place to keep us safe during the Covid-19 pandemic. I imagine I too would be itching to get out if it were not for these last 6 years. these last 6 years have taught me patience and hope. There were months on end when I was not able to get out (even if I wanted to) because of my health. I needed Medi-Cal to provide drivers for doctor visits and my friends would have to visit me where I lay on the couch propped up with pillows and supported by ice packs. So now, even though I could drive if I wanted to and have friends and events I’d love to attend, I respect my doctors’ orders and wishes for me to only go out for doctor appointments and to walk the dog when the air quality is good. I have no wish to end up in the hospital and due to my Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis, I could be at risk of dying should I catch Covid-19. No joke. So I’ll stay home and remain hopeful and at peace.
  2. My blog has actually made me $$ this year. No, I’m not rolling in the dough and I need not fear that the pittance I make from the blog will result in my losing my disability allowance. It is however invigorating to think that my hard work has been paying off this year. I’d love to see the blog flourish but I am not foolish to put all my eggs in one basket. It’s just nice to say that my blog made me a few extra dollars this year to help pay for itself (hosting fees, Canva, Tailwind, Megan’s amazing Pinterest course and templates, blogging courses, etc.)
  3. NO Lung Lavages in 2020! Yes. Yay. Horray. Hallelujah. Praise Jesus! I had two lung lavages last year and we believed it was a good possibility I would need a 3rd lavage this year. But thanks to Jesus I have not had to have a lavage. Especially with 2020 being the year it is, I do not wish to be anywhere near a hospital right about now.
  4. I moved to Orange County in February and am so grateful that I found a great primary care physician at UCI Health in Irvine. And thanks to the pandemic, the traffic is not too shabby! At UCLA Health in Westlake Village, I had just started getting trigger point injections from the East/West Medicine team and so my main wish was to find a doctor at UCI who also does Trigger Points and so they paired me with Dr. Kroner who is the bee’s knees. A terrific doctor who really cares about his patients. I’ve really been blessed with the doctors God has paired me with. Even when I was on Medi-Cal, He helped me find one of the best Neurologists (EVER!) who helped me get surgery at USC. So I am continuing my trigger point injections at UCI and was able to buy a cupping kit from Amazon so that Dad can work on my shoulders and back until I am able to get back to Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy post-Covid.
  5. Captain Hastings Alyosha (@hastingsalyosha) also needed a new vet when we moved to Orange County and thanks to a referral from his neurologist (Dr. Wayne Berry – who is also the bee’s knees!!!), we met a lovely Dr. Laura Ashbran in Mission Viejo at Alicia Pet Care Center. A couple months ago when Hastings started having skin issues we went to her and she diagnosed him with allergies and has helped us get back on the right (costly) track with allergy shots, allergy tablets, and a proper shampoo and conditioner. And on top of all that, he has had NO seizures since we moved and has not needed any costly MRIs that I don’t think that I could afford. Praise GOD.

I am sure I could go on but those are just 5 of the reasons I am counting my blessings this year. 2020 may be one wonky year but haven’t they all been since I came home in 2014? I must continue to trust in the LORD and rely on Him to find peace, strength, wisdom, love, hope, and grace.

2021 Resolutions (and Prayer Requests) for the New Year

  1. Starting an autoimmune elimination diet in January per one of my doctor’s recommendations. It will be a huge change but I am ready and willing to try almost anything. Please pray for strength that I can be consistent and stay true to the diet. Also, prayers are requested that I will hopefully find some relief for my symptoms thanks to the diet.
  2. Joining a dating app! What?! Yep. I am going to take the plunge. I cannot just assume that God is going to drop into my lap a Mr. Perfect because I pray for one. And I cannot avoid dating apps just because I am on disability. That’s a sign on pride, I have decided, that I don’t want to answer the occupation question due to my situation. So until (or unless) God introduces me to a man with a huge heart for others, like Tom Hiddleston or Gary Sinise, that I could potentially start a non-profit with, I am ready to take a leap and step up. Wish me luck. And don’t hesitate to introduce me to your eligible male friends and family members. (wink)
  3. I am going to put all my energy into making my blog and writing more profitable. I have tried different typing applications and devices but maybe what I need to focus more on is time management and long term planning. So I am going to give this blog one more year before I start looking for other ways to earn a pretty penny.
  4. I would LOVE to be able to travel again soon. After I get the vaccine and the pandemic has ended, I hope to book a ticket. So here’s to wishing and hoping for the future!

Thanks for sharing this life with me and for reading my Christmas 2020 update. Maybe next year I will be able to use my hands to handwrite addresses and sign my name on letters. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

God bless you all,

The JOYous Living

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5 Reasons to Be Thankful. Counting my Blessings in 2020.  Counting My Blessings. No More Waiting for Tom Hiddleston.